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Old 23-06-2009, 10:40 AM
fred tissue
Default Football transfer rumours: Who wants Gabriel Heinze?

Today's rumours think it's a waste of money

Tennis. It's not football, sure, but it's not a bad sport. The clothes. The decorum. The journalistically suspect pictures of beautiful ladies hitching up their skirts that all the papers seem to be mad for. And the action itself, of course. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had in watching the same brightly-coloured object swap sides over and over and over again, often in impressive, unexpected ways. Just ask anyone who's kept an eye on Pascal Chimbonda's career.

The former former Tottenham full-back, currently at Tottenham, is looking like a future former Tottenham full-back as well. The French star served up a brilliant ace to manoeuvre his way out of Wigan in 2006 – handing in a transfer request which he'd hidden in his sock for the entire final game of the season. Then Spurs and Sunderland traded him in a rapid-fire transfer rally. And now he's on his way to Marseille. Or at least he's been offered to Marseille. It's a start.

Tottenham's transfer policy this summer can be broadly summarised thus: they want all the players they don't already own – Gabriel Heinze the latest linkee – but they don't want all the players they do. Adel Taarabt is Malaga-bound (that's an unbeatable six As in surname and team name alone), while Didier Zokora's future – swinging wildly between Atlιtico Madrid, Sevilla and Sunderland – is all set to be decided "in the next few days", according to "a source close to" the player.

It's all very confusing, as is Manchester United's mooted bid for Brazil's "new Ronaldinho", Douglas Costa. The Mail quotes his agent, Cesar Bottega, as saying the Premier League champions wouldn't get close to Gremio's £25m valuation. "I don't believe United will reach this figure. Right now, an offer might come in at a maxium of £6.7m, but this would not be enough." Over in the Times, however, the player is valued at a slightly more reasonable £21m. "There have been informal conversations and I believe United would match those values," says, er, his agent, Cesar Bottega. United, who employ two full-time scouts to scour the country for its finest talent and were recently accused by Carlos Alberto of "raping Brazilian football", will sign Corinthians' 17-year-old defender Dodo for £5.5m and are weighing up a £20m bid for Internacional striker Nilmar. United target Karim Benzema meanwhile "wants to stay in France for another year so that he can prepare for the World Cup," according to his agent, "and I think Sir Alex knows this."

Quiz time! Who is Wolves' record transfer? Only he won't be for long, with the newly-promoted side all set to lavish £6.5m on Reading ace Kevin Doyle. Answer at the bottom of this article.

Yet more Brazilian action – Chelsea are ready to offer Didier Drogba to Milan as part of a deal for striking sensation Pato, and they want to unite him with international team-mate Maicon Douglas, currently filling the right-back berth for Internazionale and valued at £25m. Milan are ready to flog Andrea Pirlo – "I was the first to say that he must stay," says Silvio Berlusconi, "but then they showed me the sums." Chelsea's biggest test could me finding something to do with Andriy Shevchenko, who has one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge and has promised "to honour it in the best way".

Aston Villa are – according to separate stories on the very same page of the Mirror – spending £5m on Portugal's Miguel Moneiro, and £7m on Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton. That's £12m on two right-backs. Meanwhile, Martin O'Neill has joined Fulham, Everton and West Ham in the race for Barcelona reject Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Portsmouth – fighting off a £2m Liverpool bid for Sylvain Distin and interest from Sunderland and Wigan in Peter Crouch – are sniffing around Osasuna's Czech winger Jaroslav Plasil. And Bolton want £1.5m Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde. And Wigan want Almeria winger Albert Crusat.

Not entirely transfer-related football news in brief:

• Peter Hook, bass player in New Order, says Edwin van der Sar is "a very good neighbour"!

• Barack Obama is going to the World Cup

• Newcastle's new away kit is yellow and looks a bit like a deckchair

• Frank Lampard is on holiday in Las Vegas, where he has been pictured talking to people. Some of those people are women.

• Peter Crouch is on holiday in Sardinia

• In some of the pictures of his wedding in this week's Hello! magazine, Joe Cole appears to be standing on something to make himself look taller

And Wolves' record signing is still Ade Akinbiyi, who cost £3.5m when he signed from Bristol City in September 1999. Fact!
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